|Grille Ausf. M|
Grille Ausf. M on display at the US Army Ordnance Museum.
|Type||self propelled artillery|
|Place of origin||Nazi Germany|
|In service||1943 - 1945|
|Wars||World War II|
|Produced||1943 - 1944|
|Length||4.95 m (16 ft 3 in)|
|Width||2.15 m (7 ft 1 in)|
|Height||2.47 m (8 ft 1 in)|
|Armor||10 mm - 15 mm|
|1× 15 cm sIG 33
|1× 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr 34
|Engine||1 x Praga AC, 6-cylinder petrol engine
147 hp (110 kW)
|190 km (120 mi)|
|Speed||35 km/h (22 mph)|
The Grille (German: "cricket") was a series of self propelled artillery vehicles used by Nazi Germany during World War II. The Grille series was based on the Czech Panzer 38(t) tank and used a 15 cm sIG 33 infantry gun.
The original order for 200 units of the Grille, was to be based on the new 38(t) Ausf M chassis that BMM (Böhmisch-Mährische Maschinenfabrik) was developing, however delays caused production to start on the 38(t) Ausf H chassis, using, in some cases, the older 38(t) tanks returned for factory refit.
Grille Ausf. H
The first variant of the Grille was based on the Panzer 38(t) Ausf. H, which had its engine in the rear. The turret of the tank was removed and replaced by a low-slung superstructure and fighting compartment. The 15 cm schweres Infanteriegeschütz 33 (heavy infantry gun) was mounted in the front of this armored compartment. Being built on a tank chassis, its hull armour was 50 mm (front) and its superstructure armour was 25 mm (front)
A total of 91 (including one prototype) were produced in the BMM (erstwhile ČKD Praga) factory in Prague from February to April 1943. The official designation was 15 cm Schweres Infanteriegeschütz 33 (Sf) auf Panzerkampfwagen 38(t) Ausf. H (Sd.Kfz. 138/1).
Grille Ausf. M
The second Grille variant was based on the Panzer 38(t) Ausf. M, which had its engine in the middle. As with the earlier version, the turret was removed and replaced with a new superstructure and armored compartment. Unlike the older variant, the fighting compartment was located at the rear of the vehicle, as well as somewhat smaller and higher. The main gun was also the 15 cm schweres Infanteriegeschütz 33.
From April to June 1943 and then from October 1943 to September 1944 a total of 282 vehicles were produced. This was the last vehicle built on the Ausf M chassis as the 10 that had been allocated to the Flakpanzer 38(t) chassis were used to build Grilles instead.
The official designation was 15 cm Schweres Infanteriegeschütz 33/1 auf Selbstfahrlafette 38(t) (Sf) Ausf. M (Sd.Kfz. 138/1)
As the Grille had limited ammunition storage, a dedicated variant was built based on the Ausf. M chassis; this was designated Munitionspanzer 38(t) (sf) Ausf.K (sdKfz.138/1). The gun was replaced with ammunition racks; the vehicle could be converted back to normal configuration in the field, by mounting the 15 cm gun onto it. Production totaled 120 vehicles.
Both versions were intended to take service in the schwere Infanteriegeschütz Companies within the Panzergrenadier Regiments, inside Panzer and Panzergrenadier Divisions, in their heavy infantry gun units. Each detachment had six available.
- A "Grille" Ausf. K is on display at the US Army Ordnance Museum at Aberdeen, USA.
- Rickard, John. "Grille/ 15cm sIG33 (Sfl) auf PzKpfw 38(t) ausf H, M". http://www.historyofwar.org. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
- Chamberlain, Peter, and Hilary L. Doyle. Thomas L. Jentz (Technical Editor). Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War Two: A Complete Illustrated Directory of German Battle Tanks, Armoured Cars, Self-propelled Guns, and Semi-tracked Vehicles, 1933–1945. London: Arms and Armour Press, 1978 (revised edition 1993). ISBN 0-85368-202-X; rev. ed. ISBN 1-85409-214-6.
- Trewhitt Philip, 1999, Armoured Fighting Vehicles, p 104
- Jentz, T. L. (2002). Artillerie Selbstfahrlafetten. 15 cm s.I.G.33 auf Pz.Kpfw. I (ohne Aufbau) to Karl-Geraet (54 cm). Panzer Tracts № 10. Boyds, MD: Panzer Tracts. ISBN 0-97084-075-6.
- Edmundson, Gary (2005). Modelling the German 15cm SIG 33 Bison and Grille. Osprey Modelling № 19. Oehler, Robert. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 9781841768403.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Grille (artillery).|
- World War II Vehicles
- Gw. für 15 cm s.I.G. 33/1 (Sd. Kfz. 138/1): S.P. Heavy Infantry Howitzer (on Czech Chassis) (Catalogue of Enemy Ordnance, 1945)